Laidlaw leads strong Scotland

Date published: February 5 2015

Scotland have named their side that will take on France in Paris on Saturday, as they look to build on their positive November in their Six Nations opener.

The XV features just two changes to that which beat Tonga 37-12 in November, and three championship debutants in Finn Russell, Mark Bennett and Blair Cowan.

Bennett, who started the first two games in November, returns from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the third, while fellow Warrior, tighthead prop Euan Murray, steps in for Geoff Cross who starts on the bench.

A blend of experience and youth will once again orchestrate the back division as captain Greig Laidlaw, who stands one point away from scoring 300 for his country, and fly-half Russell, start their fifth Test match together.

Centre Alex Dunbar will partner Warriors team-mate Bennett in midfield, in front of a potent back division of full-back Stuart Hogg, and wings Tim Visser and Tommy Seymour, who scored a try in each of the November Tests.

A similarly-settled pack will also run out at the Stade de France, with Alasdair Dickinson and Ross Ford packing down with Murray in an experienced front-row that boasts 181 international caps.

Second-row brothers Richie and Jonny Gray will again form the boiler house in their fourth consecutive start for their country together, with Rob Harley, Johnnie Beattie and Cowan – man of the match against Tonga – in the back-row.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Dougie Fife.

Date: Saturday, February 7
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 18:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (NZRU) Mike Fraser (NZRU)